Game: Christmas Lights
Designer: Chad Head and Adam Collins
Published: 25th Century Games
Players: 2-6 players
Playtime: 10-30 Minutes
Play Type: Card Game, Set Collection, Memory
It is time to deck the halls and trim the tree. You have opened your decorations box, and need to find the perfect string of lights to decorate the tree. Competing with your fellow decorators you need to be the first to untangle your two strings of lights, and replace any broken bulbs. The first to straighten out their two strings, and have both sets completed with a plug to connect them wins.
Game play for Christmas Lights is simple enough to teach pretty much anyone. Players will start by pulling character cards for as many people are playing, making sure to include Santa in the mix. Then each player will randomly select a card, the person with Santa will be the first player.
Once first player is decided, take a moment to shuffle the three other decks. Make sure when shuffling that you keep the bulb deck, the pattern deck and the event deck separate. Finally, deal two pattern cards to each player, and five bulb cards to each player. When picking up the bulb cards make sure that the backs of the cards are facing YOU, while the bulbs face the other players. You may not look at your own cards unless an event specifies you can…if you accidentally see your cards at any point you must discard and redraw.
Players will fan their hand out facing the other players. Then each turn players will have the option to complete up to four actions, in this specific order.
Swap-players may swap a card with another person. Both players may look at the card before placing it in their hand, but once it is in hand they may no longer look at it. They are welcome to mark the card by putting it upside down to help remember which card is which.
Play- This allows players to place one card from their hand to their set. It must match the next bulb on the pattern card or be discarded. Once players have played all five bulbs from one pattern, they must play a plug card before moving onto the next pattern.
Sale- Players take one card from their hand and place it on the table face up. They then draw one card from the bulb deck and place it face up. They then are able to choose between playing one of the two cards into their set, or trading it for information from another player. If both players agree, the player doing the sale may ask questions like “where is my pink bulb”, “do I have any yellow stars in my hand?”, etc. If information is traded to another player in exchange for a bulb, that bulb must go into their SET not their hand.
Hand Refill- Player draws back up to 5 cards.
There are two kinds of special cards in the bulb deck, broken bulbs and event markers. Broken bulb cards can take the place of a bulb in a set temporarily. However, before the set is finished, players must take a bulb of the right color and place it over the broken bulb. Event Markers cause players to draw an event card. Event cards can have a variety of effects ranging from wild cards to all players discarding their whole hand.
Play continues until the first person has completed both their sets. If two players complete their sets in the same turn, the player with the least broken bulbs wins.
The copy of the game I received is reproduction, and elements are subject to change. The components in this game are both simple and perfect for it’s purpose. Christmas Lights includes 4 types of cards: Player Cards, Pattern Cards, Bulb Cards and Event Cards. The artwork has a vintage feel to it, that is reminiscent of spending Christmas at grandma’s house as a kid. It is bright and welcoming. Additionally, all of the bulb cards have both a color and shape to it. This ensures that the game is color bling accessible.
- Easy to learn
- Short Play Time
- Accessible to All Ages
- Light Strategy
- 9 Additional Variant Games for Replayability
- High Player Interaction
- Low Price Point (15$ USD)
- Luck Based
- Event Cards Infrequently Used
Christmas Lights is perfect for just what you would imagine, enjoying family time during the holidays. The game is quick, and easy to teach. It will welcome players from all ages, being easily accessible for anyone from your kids to grandma. Families will delight in playing this light memory game, and laughing as they forget where their cards were, or getting excited when they FINALLY got that plug. It is the perfect stocking stuffing game, and at only 15$ I may get a few more copies to give away to friends and family as gifts this year for the holiday season.
That being said, if you are looking for a heavy game or dislike games with a heavy luck aspect, this may not be the game for you. It is an extremely light game, with some strategy, some luck and lots of player interaction. Strategy can come in from remembering your cards, swapping cards with the right player, knowing when is a good time to use that broken bulb or timing playing an event marker card. With only three event markers in the deck, it is crucial to play them wisely. In fact, I would have liked to see one or two more event marker cards. Events add a nice variety to game play, and I felt like they were not seen enough.
In this review, I discussed the base game for Christmas Lights, but the fun does not stop there. Included in the box will be rules for up to NINE other games that can be played with the family. While I won’t discuss each of these in depth, I will say that some of the games will feel familiar to games you played as a kid, and others are entirely new and fun to explore.
Additionally, I have been very impressed with how 25th Century Games is going the extra mile to ensure that the game will be ready for the holiday season. They are choosing to manufacture the game in the United States and use a fulfillment center in the US as well. This sense of urgency and commitment to getting the product to the players in time stands out to me as a backer.
If you are looking for bang for your buck, you cannot go wrong with backing this game. The value that is included for only 15$ is tremendous. If you and your family enjoy classic games like Memory or Old Maid, holiday games, light card games like Sushi Go and Love Letter, or hidden information games like Hanabi then this game is for you. It will hold up well against other holiday titles already released, and even be more family friendly in many cases. It is on Kickstarter now, and will remain on Kickstarter until June 27th, 2018.
***Disclaimer: I received a copy of Christmas Lights for an honest review of the game. This is not a paid review.***